• World Cup

Rooney: I don't care what Scholes and Lineker think

ESPN staff
June 5, 2014

Wayne Rooney has dismissed claims from former England players that he should be dropped from Roy Hodgson's World Cup team, telling them he doesn't care what they think.

Gary Lineker and Paul Scholes have both criticised Rooney in the build up to the finals in Brazil and the striker found himself pushed out to the left flank for England's friendly draw with Ecuador on Wednesday.

While Scholes said last month that Rooney may have already passed his peak, Lineker believes the Manchester United player is a victim of his versatility and Hodgson may have to consider dropping him.

Sterling stands accused

Raheem Sterling was sent off for his tackle on Antonio Valencia © Getty Images
  • Antonio Valencia claims Raheem Sterling could have ended his World Cup with his tackle in Wednesday's friendly between Ecuador and England. The Manchester United winger apologised to Liverpool's Sterling after both players were sent off, but claimed he feared the challenge had put his fitness in jeopardy.
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But Rooney said: "To be honest, I'm not really interested in what anyone else has got to say. I'm interested in what Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff here and the people around me say. People have their opinions but I don't agree with them.

"[Scholes has] been a team-mate but he's been away from the first team for a long time. I've seen a lot of you [in the media] saying he's coached me and been around the team but he hasn't. I'm not really going to react. I'm not interested. He's got his opinions so let's leave it at that.

"I don't listen to people outside of the set-up really so anyone can say what they want. I have got no interest in listening to them.

"I don't think anyone is guaranteed a start in the team. It is down to the manager to pick the team. Everyone is pushing. It is a good squad the manager is picking his team from so the manager will have some tough decisions I am sure and that is down to him to do."

Lineker believes that the other players in England's squad have made Rooney, once considered to be a gaurunteed starter, vulnerable.

"You've got the conundrum: if [Daniel] Sturridge is up top in the system, where do you play Rooney?" Lineker told Blahzil 2014. "Wayne can play anywhere. He can play on the right, he can play on the left, he can even play a forward midfield role.

"But the question then is, have you better players in those particular positions than Wayne Rooney? We've got all sorts of options. You could have [Raheem] Sterling playing on one side, the possibility of [Adam] Lallana playing on either side, [Danny] Welbeck, of course, which has been favoured by Roy in his teams and you'd expect him to play on the left-hand side because he covers a lot of ground."

Rooney insists he is "happy to play anywhere" for England, but admits that he is putting pressure on Hodgson for a starting place and says the manager faces some tough decisions for the country's first group game against Italy on June 15.

He scored England's opening goal against Ecuador in Miami but Hodgson selected Rickie Lambert to lead the line in one of 10 changes to the line-up that faced Peru at Wembley last week.

Lambert and new Liverpool team-mate Sturridge look set to share duties up front in Brazil, with Welbeck in reserve, leaving Hodgson to find another role for Rooney, who thrives as a second striker in a two-man attack.

Rooney voiced his displeasure at being played on the wing during Sir Alex Ferguson's final season in charge at United and reiterated his belief that he is not as effective out wide, but said he was willing to play anywhere for England in Brazil.

Rooney said: "I enjoy playing for my country, whether it's left wing, right wing, midfield or up front. I've said before I'm always proud to play for England and that won't change no matter where I am on the pitch.

"It's down to the manager to pick where he wants to play me and I'm happy to play anywhere."

England play their final warm-up game against Honduras in Miami on Saturday before heading to Brazil.

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